Health Screening Programme at Projek Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) Hiliran Ampang

Group 2 of AKRAB Universiti Malaya (3rd Series) organised a health screening programme for the residents of the Projek Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) Hiliran Ampang, Jalan Ampang Putra, Kuala Lumpur, together with the Public Health Department of University Malaya Medical Centre. Six healthcare workers participated in this programme – SN Shaheera Azlin Mohd Shaufi, Dr Afif Haziq Ayob, Dr Seri Amirah Baderolhe Sham, Associate Professor Dr Nik Daliana Nik Farid, Dr Mohd Zahiruddin Mohd Khairi, and Dr Hazwa Harith.

The main objective of the programme was to conduct a focused health screening for the residents, as well as to hold a public mental health awareness talk.  The programme was held on the 4th of June 2022 (Saturday), from 8.30 am to 1 pm at the Neighbourhood Association (KRT) Community Hall, PPR Hiliran Ampang. The following activities were carried out: health screening (blood pressure, body weight and height, mental health – DASS-21); doctor’s consultations; mental health literacy talk and quiz.

A total of 30 participants took part in the health programme. Overall, the average age of the participants was 60 and above. The health screening results found that 50% of the participant’s systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings were not at the optimum, where the reading was ≥140 mmHg for systolic and ≥90 mmHg for diastolic blood pressure. Therefore, the participants who were found to have below optimum readings on the day were advised by the medical officers to do a further health check at the nearest health clinic. For the body mass index measurement, about 86% of the participants were in the overweight and obese category.

All participants with weight issues were advised by the health officers to practice the following eating habits:

  1. Reduce intake of fried foods, oily foods, and foods with coconut milk
  2. Increase vegetables and low-calorie fruits intake
  3. Choose or prepare food by steaming, boiling, grilling, and if frying is required, use a minimum amount of oil
  4. Reduce sweetened drinks, replace them with mineral water, and drink plenty of it (at least 8 glasses a day)

Apart from that, the participants were advised to routinely carry out medium-level intensity physical activities and exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, such as climbing stairs, gardening, cleaning the house, and similar activities. These activities can be done continuously or broken up into sessions, for example, 10 minutes of a session done separately until 30 minutes have been achieved for the day. The Hiliran Ampang residents’ mental health status was assessed using the DASS-21 (Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale 21) questionnaire. This instrument was designed to measure one’s depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms in the past week. However, this instrument cannot give an exact diagnosis or identify exactly the three issues mentioned.

Overall, the participant’s average scores for depression, anxiety, and stress were normal. It was found that less than 8% of participants had anxiety at a severe and/or a very serious level. To increase the mental health awareness of the residents, a talk entitled “Keeping a Healthy Mind” was given by two Doctor of Public Health candidates representing the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine. The residents were also introduced to a mobile application “2Heal” that can help increase users’ self-awareness of mental health. This application also provides suggestions for suitable activities to prevent mental health problems.

This write-up was prepared by Associate Professor Dr Nik Daliana Nik Farid, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya.

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